Over the past 4 years, Summer and I made a home out of a fun little 2 bedroom apartment in an ok neighborhood. When we first moved in after the divorce, she was 2, me 36, and my plan was minimal – navigate through our new life in survival mode. To figure it all out on my own and to love my baby girl as deeply as my heart would let me without it exploding. To dig my feet deep into the ground and make a home for us that was safe and comfy and peaceful. To learn how to be a single parent which came surprisingly easy to me, free to live life on my own terms and create memories with my baby without someone in the shadows telling me I was doing it wrong. The past 4 years started with a ‘live life right now’ mentality but as we got grounded, a ‘make a plan for the future’ little bug started whispering to me softly.
So I did.
I worked harder at my job than I have ever worked and it was recognized. I was given more responsibilities, I grew in my career which led to promotions and raises and new projects I was trusted with, even though I had at least 1 moment a day where I thought, “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.” Over the last 4 years, despite expensive legal battles over no child support and vet bills for a sick aging dog and annual rent and insurance and cable bill increases, I wore secondhand clothes and bought my underwear in bulk at the grocery store and ate more ramen noodles than I care to admit, all so my baby could have new clothes and eat nourishing meals while I built a nest egg. And 2 months ago my dream came true when I bought a beautiful townhouse surrounded by country in an amazing school district, with safe streets and playgrounds that dot every other block in our charming little neighborhood.
It’s beautiful here. At night I sit out on the balcony with my head propped back on my shoulders in absolute awe at the hundreds of stars above me. The sky is different here – in the mornings I watch the sun throw vivid colors across the treetops through clouds that look like cotton balls. In the evenings, the sunsets are so brilliant and vast spanning across the views from my living room, dining room and kitchen windows.
I have windows, so many windows. For the last 4 years I lived with just 2 windows and a patio door and only ever had the opportunity to see west from inside. Here I have a window every few feet in every room on every wall. My last house shared in my past life had floor to ceiling windows in the living room for sunset and the blue room faced the sunrise, but the blinds were always closed at the first hint of dusk and the bedroom windows had black out shades drawn tight most hours of the day. Yet here, I am free to let the skies pour in through the windows at all hours, I can watch the leaves rustle outside my living room windows and feel the breeze sweep through the open bedroom windows as I sleep. It’s gloriously freeing.
The storms up here are incredible, stronger than anywhere I remember living before. I watch them roll in from miles away and love to hear the sideways rain pounding against my patio door begging to get in. In my past life I was always brought down to the basement to hide from the rain but here I welcome the beauty of cloud walls charging towards the house, everything turning quiet moments before the sky releases its fury. And then the storms pass leaving brilliant rose red sunsets behind; I’ve seen more rainbows in the 2 short months I’ve lived here than I have seen throughout my whole life.
The house needs absolutely no work, which grants me lots of time to find fun projects I can do casually to satisfy my artistic urges. I’ve painted walls. I’ve given my nightstands a new finish. I’ve learned how to hang light fixtures. I’ve built an inset wall with my dad who taught me how to use a wall saw, a nail gun, how to drywall and how to hang a 60 pound tv on a bracket 3 feet over my head using a stepstool on top of an end table on top of a kitchen table. No easy feat.
Summer started school last week, both of us rightfully nervous before that first day for the unknown. But almost a week in now, she and I are both happy and the anxiety has disappeared. She’s taking the bus and it’s been memory evoking watching her little backpack-adorned body climb up the steps and plop down into a seat behind the driver. The doggies and I walk her to the bus stop every morning and pick her up every afternoon, and the smile that greets me as she jumps off that last bus step is heavenly – pure bliss for my heart. I’ve made friends with the mom of the other girl at the bus stop, we’ve exchanged numbers and chat every morning for a bit after the bus pulls away. I can tell she’s going to be that one mom who leans on me and I on her, the lifeline we all desire when moving to new unchartered territory.
There are things I miss about the apartment – one of my best friends upstairs, the maintenance crew who became like family, the ability to call the office anytime something was wrong, the pool (although when we shed tears the day I left, the manager invited me back indefinitely which Summer and I took advantage of plenty of times this summer). Though while we left behind a pivotal chapter in our lives the day we said our goodbyes, since we’ve been in the new house we’ve experienced so much happiness and I have so many stories to tell now that we’re settled in.
After 2 short months it feels like home now. And it is good.